Campus Renovation

Before Renovations Begin, Iowa Middle School Schedules Asbestos Abatement

The Perry School Board of Perry, Iowa, is still accepting construction bids for its $10 million renovation project of Perry Middle School. Before the renovations can begin, the school is pursuing a month-long asbestos abatement project. School Board President Kyle Baxter attributes the reluctance of contractors to submit bids to the renovation project’s tight turnaround time once that abatement is finished.

The asbestos-related work is slated to begin on May 1. In February, the school board’s request to conduct Perry Middle School’s classes remotely for the month of May was denied. Instead, the middle school and Perry High School principals have worked out a plan to hold in-person classes for middle school students at the high school. The whole sixth grade class will set up shop in the PHS multipurpose room. Seventh and eighth grade students will be placed in various empty classrooms throughout the school.

“The reason that we need that month, that four weeks, is that they are saying that abatement is supposed to take four weeks, which would push the project well into September,” said PCSD Superintendent Clark Wicks. “I think it’s better to put that delay—or whatever you want to call it, that virtual piece—in May and start the school year clean. So that is still our goal.”

The students’ last day in the middle school is set for April 23. Movers will come through and clear out the building—removing furniture, projectors, hot spots, and so on—so that the asbestos abatement can begin on May 1.

Perry Middle School Principal Shaun Kruger thanked the PHS principal, as well as his own school’s faculty and students, for their flexibility during the abatement and subsequent renovations. “I’m proud of them,” Kruger said. “They’ve embraced it. They’ve got some multidisciplinary units with the whole group and some other neat ideas planned, and are taking advantage of the opportunity.”

Renovations are scheduled to be completed by the beginning of next school year. “I know there’s some [general contractors] who are interested and asking questions,” said Baxter. “We lost a month of instruction, so part of what we had to do was extend into the fall, so we may be creative in what we have to do over there. Hopefully, we can still get started here in spring break with asbestos and get that rolling.”

Planned renovations for the middle school include expanded and relocated classrooms; updated furniture like student desks, chairs, and classroom fixtures; a new computer lab and STEM lab; new wiring and electrical equipment; updated projectors; and new lighting and ceilings throughout the entire building.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].